The Dryden Observer

Your Source for Dryden News

First points of contact…

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.

I begged and pleaded, but Gail Goldrup did not think an interview would be a good idea.

The attendance secretary of Dryden High School has spent a lifetime crafting her brand of kind, but firm refusals.

Oh the stories I imagine this woman could tell…

After well over three decades of service as the first point of contact to the students, staff and parents of DHS, Goldrup joined the school administration on stage June 21 to witness the final batch of young adults under her watch receive their Ontario Secondary School Diplomas.

She figures she may have seen as many as 5,000-6,000 kids work their way through the local educational system, multiple generations of people who have fanned out across the country.

For those who’ve come back to Dryden, or never left, Goldrup is one of those remarkably grounding figures that link your identity to the history of a place. While I’m sure it has never been her ambition to be recognized as such, to me she is one of the few unshakeable human constants that have remained while the building of DHS has evolved into something far less recognizable that it was for the class of 1993.

It is one of the observations of my life (which only just barely outstrips the length of Goldrup’s career) that ‘place’ has nothing to do bricks and mortar or other inert materials. It is the people who occupy those places that form your only meaningful connection to them.

This was reinforced to me by during the demolition of Riverview School in which I found myself rather ‘okay’ with the destruction of the building that hosted some of my most enduring childhood memories.

After all, what was Riverview School to me without people like Ralph Menell, Marg Obee, or Peter Andrusco? It was a pile of yellow bricks (one of which I stole and now keep in my shed).

While I hate to put Gail Goldrup on the spot as she enters a well-deserved retirement, I think she needs to know that DHS will be a little less familiar to a whole lot of people without her.


If there’s one event in particular I’d really like to see succeed this Canada Day, I think it would be the Elvis Ave. Block Party.

Most residents in Dryden could attest to the fact that there is a genuine sense of community engagement, pride and ownership bubbling up in response to the harsh realities facing our municipal government.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to for many of us to find that entry point by which we can stop talking about it and start acting on these ideas.

“Bring a Chair and Something to Share’ seems simple and non-threatening enough to be that entry point. What’s unique about the Elvis Ave. Block Party is that it’s not in a parking lot, or some neutral city-owned space — it’s a neighbourhood. There’s a sense of hospitality, of goodwill in the event’s very nature that immediately appeals to the best part of us, makes us more willing to act as a good neighbours.

Whether it’s Elvis Ave. or one of the other many events ahead in the next week, why not make Canada Day or Moosefest your entry into a greater involvement with your community. Offer a hand wherever you can.

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